Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:45 am on 1st October 2020.

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Photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg Jacob Rees-Mogg Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 11:45 am, 1st October 2020

We should take such pride in the history that is displayed through the art in this House. It might be a slightly Whiggish view of history, but if we go to Committee Room 10, we see Alfred the Great defeating the Danes, starting our great island story. If we walk from here to the House of Lords, we see on the walls the whole process of the civil war, with King Charles I raising his standard at Nottingham, and we see the birds that flew—we see the history of our nation. It is something that we should be proud of, for we are a great nation; a successful nation; one of the greatest nations the world has ever seen; and we have done so much good, not just at home but abroad, and we should be proud of that. We should recognise that how our forefathers have recorded our history is not something we should dispose of. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has said:

“Statues and other historical objects were created by generations with different perspectives and understandings of right and wrong… they play an important role in teaching us about our past… Rather than erasing these objects, we should seek to contextualise…them in a way that enables the public to learn about them in their entirety… Our aim should be to use them to educate people about all aspects of Britain’s complex past, both good”— in my view, primarily good—and occasionally bad. The word “occasionally” is an edit of my own.